The Shape of the Ruins

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Read 18/05/2019-29/05/2019

Rating 5 stars

The Shape of the Ruins is the story of the writer Juan Gabriel Vásquez and his involvement with two men who are obsessed by the assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán in 1948. Gaitán is real. Vásquez is real. I don’t know whether Carlos Carballo or Dr Francisco Benavides, the man who introduces Vásquez to Carballo, are real. It’s a novel about truth and the multiple truths of history. It’s a novel about how politically charged events can have decades of reverberation, affecting the lives of those who are unaware of the origin moment. It’s a novel of connections obscured by the twists and turns in their paths. Ultimately, it’s a novel about power and its influence over truth. Continue reading

My Sister The Serial Killer

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Read 17/05/2019

Rating 4 stars

What do you do when your sister keeps killing her boyfriends? You become her Cleaner. This is the situation Korede finds herself in when her sister Ayoola kills three of her boyfriends on the trot. Continue reading

The Word Exchange

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Read 06/05/2019-16/05/2019

Rating 3 stars

The Word Exchange is a speculative science fiction mystery suspense that imagines a world in which electronic devices have become indispensable, replacing the need for deep thought or retention of information, to the extent that the people plugged into these devices are easy to manipulate. Sound familiar? It’s only five years old and already it feels as though the world Alena Graedon has imagined is more than a few steps closer to reality. Continue reading

Double Drink Story

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Read 03/05/2019-06/05/2019

Rating 2.5 stars

The full title of this autobiography is My Life with Dylan Thomas: Double Drink Story. It is Caitlin Thomas’s memoir of her life as Dylan Thomas’s wife. I bought it on a whim at the Dylan Thomas Boathouse on the last day of my holiday in Laugharne. Earlier in the week, I’d read Aeronwy Thomas’s memoir, which didn’t put Caitlin or Dylan in a particularly good light. I was interested to know Caitlin’s take on things. Continue reading

Built on Sand

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Read 01/05/2019-05/05/2019

Rating 4 stars

Paul Scraton’s Built on Sand is a fictional biography of the city he has made his home. Berlin is a city that I’ve only visited once but I was fascinated by the way it wears its past on its streets and buildings. I’ve read other books set in Berlin, in the lead up to and during the Second World War, books which make the place as much a character in their storytelling as the people. Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin and Mr Norris Changes Trains, the anonymous diary A Woman in Berlin and Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin all gave me a sense of knowing Berlin, some before I’d even travelled there. Continue reading